First look at the South Florida Museum exhibition of National Geographic’s underwater photographer Brian Skerry work, “Ocean Soul”

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Reviewed by Carole Kaye

On February 12, 2015, the South Florida Museum held an exhibition reception, displaying in its East Gallery a National Geographic exhibit of the underwater photographer, Brian Skerry.  The exhibition is entitled “Ocean Soul.”

The Museum’s Director of Exhibitions and Chief Curator, Matthew Woodside, first saw the exhibit, Ocean Soul, at the National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C..  Mr. Woodside then learned that a traveling version of the exhibition was offered, and he was able to bring it to the South Florida Museum.

The photographer, Brian Skerry, is a lifelong diver and an underwater photographer whose works chronicle the health of our planet’s oceans.  Diving in extreme conditions, under Arctic ice or among sharks and whales, hIs photographs show marine creatures in their natural settings.  The brilliant colors and perspectives in his photographs are breathtaking.

The Ocean Soul exhibit will be on view through June 7, 2015, and is included in the Museum general admission.



SOUTH FLORIDA MUSEUM TO OPEN OCEAN SOUL, A NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC EXHIBITION OF THE UNDERWATER PHOTOGRAPHER BRIAN SKERRY; n Display in the Museum’s East Gallery from February 7 – June 7, 2015 with Exhibition Reception on Thursday, February 12 at 5:30 pm



On Display in the Museum’s East Gallery from February 7 – June 7, 2015

with Exhibition Reception on Thursday, February 12 at 5:30 pm

(Bradenton, FL) Visitors to the South Florida Museum will voyage across the oceans and into the depths of mystery and wonder with National Geographic underwater photographer Brian Skerry to experience the ocean like never before. Ocean Soul, a National Geographic Traveling Exhibition opening on February 7, showcases Skerry’s stunning visual display of the ocean environment and the creatures living there. The exhibition will run through June 7, 2015. The Museum will hold an exhibition reception on Thursday, February 12, 2015 from 5:30 – 7:00 pm.

Director of Exhibitions and Chief Curator Matthew Woodside says of the exhibition, “I first saw the Ocean Soul exhibition at the National Museum of Natural History in Washington D.C. I was amazed at National Geographic photographer Brian Skerry’s vibrant underwater photography. I came away with a new appreciation for the beauty and mystery of the ocean’s creatures, ecosystems and biodiversity.” He continues, “When I learned that the National Geographic Society offered a traveling version of the exhibition, I wanted to bring this wonderful show to the South Florida Museum community.”

A lifelong diver and advocate of the ocean, Skerry is a revered underwater photographer who has shot nearly 20 National Geographic magazine features, profiling ocean environments and marine conservation. He has spent more than 10,000 hours underwater documenting the troubles and triumphs of our planet’s oceans. Whether beneath the Arctic ice or in predator-infested waters, Skerry’s dives in extreme conditions have captured rare and intimate moments of marine creatures in their natural settings. His photographs tell compelling stories of survival, from harp seals fleeing execution by commercial hunters in the North Atlantic to damaged coral ecosystems beginning to rebuild themselves in the central Pacific.

“To make great pictures, a photographer must observe and truly see,” said Skerry. “Over time I learned that the real value is in being patient, slowing down and watching the world around me.”

According to NOAA, Earth’s oceans cover 71 percent of the planet’s surface, contains 97 percent of our planet’s water, yet more than 95 percent of the underwater world remains unexplored. SFM Curator Matthew Woodside observes, “Oceans have a major influence on many of the Earth’s systems such as weather, climate and global temperatures. Oceans produce more than half of the oxygen in the atmosphere and absorb most of the carbon from it. We consume more than 170 billion pounds of wild fish and shellfish each year.“ He concludes, “I hope this exhibition will inspire people, as it did me, to think a little deeper (pun intended) about our oceans and the life it supports and to simply be amazed at Brian Skerry’s spectacular photography and amazing stories.”

The South Florida Museum will host an Exhibition Reception on Thursday, June 7 from 5:30 – 7:00 pm. Visitors will be welcome to browse the exhibition and speak with Museum staff about the exhibition and related upcoming programs. Light refreshments will be provided in addition to a cash bar.  The Reception is free to Museum Members and $5 admission for the general public. For information and reservations for the Ocean Soul Reception, please contact Susan McCarthy at [email protected] or 941.746.4131 ext. 13.

The more than 50 photographs in the Ocean Soul exhibition are drawn from Skerry’s fall 2011 National Geographic book of the same name, a retrospective of his photography from the last 20 years. Both follow four key creatures whose gripping stories illustrate the health of the world’s oceans: shark, right whale, leatherback turtle and harp seal. The beautiful, hardcover edition of the Ocean Soul book will be available for sale in the South Florida Museum Store during the run of the exhibition ($50).

On view in the Museum’s East Gallery from February 7 – June 7, 2015, the Ocean Soul exhibition is included in general Museum admission. General admission prices are: Adults – $19, Seniors (65+) – $17, Children (4-12) – $14, Children under 3 are free when accompanied by a paying adult. (Museum members are always free for general Museum admission.)


About the South Florida Museum
The largest natural and cultural history museum on Florida’s Gulf Coast, the South Florida Museum offers engaging exhibits as well as educational programs which interpret the scientific and cultural knowledge of Florida, the world and our universe. In addition to the permanent exhibits, the Museum features a constantly changing lineup of temporary exhibitions – offering something new to discover with each visit. The facility also includes both the all-digital Bishop Planetarium Theater and the Parker Manatee Aquarium. Outfitted with a brand new, state-of-the-art Planetarium and projection system in October of 2013, the Bishop Planetarium is the region’s premier astronomy education facility with stunning new multimedia capabilities. The Parker Manatee Aquarium is home to Snooty™, Manatee County’s official mascot and the oldest known manatee in the world. Snooty shares his Aquarium pool with young manatees from the Manatee Rehabilitation and Release Partnership. These injured or orphaned animals are taken care of by the Parker Aquarium staff until they are ready to be released into the wild. For more information about current exhibitions and special programs, membership, hours, or admission prices please call 941-746-4131 or visit


The National Geographic Society is one of the world’s largest nonprofit scientific and educational organizations and one of the world’s leading organizers of large-scale, traveling exhibitions. Since it launched “Tutankhamun and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs” in 2004, National Geographic has organized two more Egyptian-themed exhibitions, “Tutankhamun: The Golden King and the Great Pharaohs” and “Cleopatra: The Search for the Last Queen of Egypt.” Other exhibitions National Geographic has organized include the four-city U.S. tour of “Afghanistan: Hidden Treasures from the National Museum, Kabul.” National Geographic also offers a collection of photography exhibitions available to museums around the world. For more information, visit


Brian Skerry is an award-winning National Geographic photojournalist specializing in marine wildlife and underwater environments. His work has been featured in countless other publications worldwide, including Smithsonian, BBC Wildlife, Esquire and Audubon. Skerry frequently lectures on photography and conservation issues at venues such as National Geographic Live, TED Talks, the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., and the Royal Geographical Society in London. He is a regular guest on such programs as NBC’s “Today,” CBS’s “Sunday Morning” and ABC’s “Good Morning America.”


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